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Bachmann touts PolitiFact ruling to back claim, but gets it wrong

The statement

"After the debate that we had last week, PolitiFact came out and said that everything I said was true."

Michele Bachmann, Thursday in a Republican presidential debate in Iowa

The ruling

Bachmann's claim jolted us out of our seats.

It came during an exchange between Bachmann and Newt Gingrich. Bachmann was attacking Gingrich's work after he left Congress. He has said he was a paid consultant, but critics such as Bachmann contend he was really a lobbyist.

"I did no lobbying of any kind for any organization. That was a key part of every agreement we had," he said.

Challenged by moderator Chris Wallace for hard evidence, Bachmann said that "we know that (Gingrich) cashed paychecks from Freddie Mac. That's the best evidence that you can have. Over $1.6 million. …"

Gingrich responded, "Well, the easiest answer is, that's just not true. What she just said is factually not true. I never lobbied under any circumstance. …"

At that point, Bachmann jumped back in. "Well, after the debates that we had last week, PolitiFact came out and said that everything that I said was true. And the evidence is that Speaker Gingrich took $1.6 million."

Wait … what? We said "everything" Bachmann said was true?

Actually, that's not what we said.

At the Dec. 10 debate she was referring to, PolitiFact checked two claims from Bachmann and rated them Mostly True and Pants on Fire.

The fact-check she may have been referencing was, "In 1993, Newt Gingrich 'first advocated for the individual mandate in health care. And as recently as May of this year, he was still advocating' for it." We rated that Mostly True.

But we also rated her claim that Mitt Romney, as governor of Massachusetts, "put into place socialized medicine." We found that was ridiculously false and rated it Pants on Fire.

Her comment about our ratings was also a bit of a non-sequitur. Neither of the two items we checked addressed the subject at hand — Gingrich's work for Freddie Mac.

Maybe Bachmann was trying to burnish her image as a truth teller. However, using PolitiFact to back up that assertion is a bit unusual. Her PolitiFact report card shows 59 percent of her statements rated have earned either a False or Pants on Fire.

And for claiming she had a perfect record in last week's debate, she earns another Pants on Fire.

This ruling has been edited for print. Read the full version at

Bachmann touts PolitiFact ruling to back claim, but gets it wrong 12/16/11 [Last modified: Friday, December 16, 2011 10:07pm]
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